California Contractor Discovers Key to Welding Portability and Productivity With Millermatic® Passport ®
Walden Structures relies on Miller's all-in-one Millermatic® 251 and Millermatic Passport MIG welding inverters to improve portability, flexibility and time savings in the construction of modular units:
- Millermatic Passport improves arc quality through more positive arc starts.
- Less popping, spatter than any other welder in its class.
- Auto-Line power management technology enables Walden to weld with 115-230 volt power.
When a major United States defense contractor needed 900 modular units constructed they turned to a recognized leader in modular construction: Walden Structures of Riverside, California.
The contract for this unique project was signed in May 2005 with all work completed by September. The bulk of this work featured welding modifications to create single and multi-story structures.
To increase productivity and make welding on the multi-story units more accessible, Walden complemented its existing Millermatic® 251 all-in-one MIG welders with the addition of an ultra-portable Millermatic Passport™ MIG welder. The 45-lb. Millermatic Passport takes “all-in-one MIG” technology to a new level of portability, flexibility and time savings.
The Leader in Modular Construction
Walden Structures built a niche for itself as a regional leader in the construction and design of modular buildings for schools, offices, medical, correctional institutions and government buildings. Licensed to operate in 10 Western U.S. states, Walden has won awards from such prestigious industry organizations as the Modular Building Institute and Automated Builder Managers.
“Customers choose to work with Walden Structures because we have the ability to take on a large job and do it right the first time because of our engineering and manufacturing experience,” says Kipp Anderson, Walden’s chief operating officer. “We meet or beat the promised construction schedule and use the materials we promised to use.”
Walden’s choice of welding equipment and supplier is integral to its ability to meet deadlines. Until about five years ago, Walden used another brand of welding equipment, but the support they received from the manufacturer and their welding equipment supplier could mean expensive delays. Then they switched to Cameron Welding Supply.
“Once we switched to Cameron and Miller Electric welding equipment, all those little problems we used to deal with on a day-to-day basis went away,” said Art Reissman, Walden materials manager.
“Our job is to support Walden by providing them with the best welding equipment and supplies in a timely manner,” Fred Hochgurtel of Cameron said. “They run 24 hours a day, six days a week. We want to make sure there is no lost production time, so we introduced them to the superior service, equipment and technical support provided by Miller.”
In addition to its ability to meet deadlines, Walden’s extensive knowledge of materials and manufacturing processes was a major factor in helping Walden secure the defense contract. While Walden regularly uses a Deltaweld® 452 MIG power source matched with an S-74 wire feeder in its factory for work on modular structures, the company counted on the productivity of the Millermatic 251.
|The Millermatic Passport takes all-in-one MIG technology to a new level of portability, flexibility and time savings.|
Modifications Made Easy with Millermatics
The modifications are more productive with the Millermatic 251.
Walden owns four of the 215-lb. Millermatic 251 MIG welders for work in its shop and in the construction yard. They feature a rated output of 250 amps at 28 volts (40 percent duty cycle) and are capable of welding material from 22-ga. to 1/2-in. thick in a single pass. Miller’s Active Arc Stabilizer™ allows the Millermatic 251 to filter out current ripples to create consistent arc starts, softer welding arcs, better low-end arc control and less spatter, all factors that improve productivity and help Walden stay on schedule. To simplify welding, the Millermatic 251 features self-calibrating digital meters that allow operators to preset voltage and wire speed parameters and display actual settings for 5 seconds after they stop welding.
However, the heavier Millermatic 251 is not convenient for “multi story” work. In these cases, Walden takes advantage of the Millermatic Passport’s lightweight portability. Knowing its need for a portable welder with superior arc characteristics, Ed Bogner, Miller Electric district manager, and Hochgurtel introduced Walden to the Millermatic Passport to help them complete this unique project on time.
Walden fabricates one to four story moment frame modular building which have extensive welding requirements.
“Our fabricators like the Passport because it’s easy to carry,” says Martin Portillo, welding supervisor, Walden Structures. “It comes in a rugged, impact-resistant case that they can take everywhere. This saves a lot of time. Without the Passport, we’d have to use our Stick welder, which is heavier. We’d have to use a forklift to carry it around. And, of course, flux cored welding is faster and there’s less clean up, too.”
|Martin Portillo, welding supervisor, Walden Structures, appreciates the portability of the Millermatic Passport.|
The Millermatic Passport enables welding for 25 minutes using the unit’s self-contained CO2 shielding gas cylinder (a flick of a switch also enables using a regular external shielding gas source). However, for outside welding, Walden prefers Hobart Brother’s self-shielded .030-in. Fabshield® 23 E-71T-GS flux cored wire. Using self-shielded wire helps eliminate concerns about wind blowing away shielding gas, which could lead to porosity. Fabshield 23 is designed specifically for welding thin gauge mild or galvanized steel and is an all-position wire. It provides low spatter levels and creates a smooth weld bead. An 8-in. spool fits neatly inside the Passport for operator convenience. This same wire type, in a 12-in. spool, is used with the Millermatic 251.
In addition to portability benefits, Walden finds that the inverter-based technology of the Millermatic Passport substantially improves weld quality through more positive arc starts without popping and welding with less spatter (hence less post-weld grinding) than any other welder in its class.
“For the welds that we make,” adds Portillo, “the duty cycle on 115 volt power is more than sufficient. The welds are three inches long and 12 or 24 inches apart.”
Unlike other small MIG units, the Passport is not limited to 115 volt input power. Its unique Multi-Voltage Plug (MVP™) allows operators to plug into either 115- or 230-volt power. They simply choose the plug that fits the receptacle and attach it to the power cord.
Miller’s exclusive Auto-Line™ power management technology further enhances the Passport’s flexibility, as it enables the Millermatic Passport to weld with 115 through 230 volt power. Auto-Line also helps increase the machine’s welding power. If Walden needed to make long, continuous welds with .030-in. wire, it could simply increase the Millermatic Passports’ top output to 180 amps (150 amps at 20 percent duty cycle) by switching to 230-volt input power. On 115 volt primary, the machine has a maximum output of 140 amps and a rated output of 110 amps at 20 percent duty cycle.
This input power versatility helps on jobsites and in light construction applications where primary power availability and welding requirements vary.
“We take the Passport around our construction yard and to jobsites for retro-fit and maintenance work,” says Portillo. “Customers sometimes ask us to weld outriggers onto the chassis frame (of modular buildings). Every time we had to do that, it was hard for us to take a big machine out of the factory. With the Passport, it’s easy. It also works well for a small machine. Last week, we welded with it five days in a row to add outriggers to the chassis of 20 units.”
In cases where primary power is not easily available—which can include Walden’s own 12-acre construction yard—Walden runs the Passport off of the generator power provided by a Trailblazer® 301G welding generator.
The All-in-One Advantage
Both the Millermatic 251 and the Passport, while substantially different in size, provide Walden with the quality and durability expected from the Millermatic family of welders. Each model offers high quality arc characteristics, ease-of-use, minimal spatter and extremely fluid, easy to control weld puddles.
The tag team of the Millermatic 251 and the Passport works wonders for Walden and contributed greatly to completing this project on schedule. Having been introduced to the Miller welding equipment by Fred Hochgurtel of welding distributor Cameron Welding, Walden has noticed an improvement in service and quality.
“The change to Cameron Welding and Miller equipment makes a good difference. We get a higher quality of service, and this helps us get better productivity,” concludes Portillo.